A former Alabama prison officer has died and the murder suspect she is accused of helping escape has been caught after more than a week-long manhunt came to a dramatic end.
Vicky and Casey White, who are unrelated but were believed to be in a romantic relationship, were captured by US Marshals on Tuesday (Australian time) after police followed up a tip from a member of the public, leading them to a hotel in Indiana.
The pair were caught after marshals pursued their ute and subsequently rammed them off the road.
Once captured, Ms White was found to have injuries, thought to be from a self-inflicted gunshot as Mr White surrendered, police said.
The extent and nature of the retired prison officer’s injuries are unknown, although they were said to be “very serious”.
Ms White was taken to hospital after the crash. She later died at Deaconess Hospital.
“This has ended a very long and stressful and challenging week and a half. It ended the way that we knew it would. They are in custody,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton of Alabama said.
The pair were last seen leaving an Alabama jail on April 29.
Ms White – who had lodged her retirement papers just a day before and was on her last day at work – told fellow corrections officers she was taking the inmate to court for a mental health evaluation. But no appointment had been scheduled.
In Indiana, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said officials learned on Monday the pair’s vehicle was near the sheriff’s office.
As officers arrived, the runaways fled in the vehicle and led police on a chase, he said. US Marshals smashed into them “to try to end the pursuit”, injuring Mr White.
The two had been the target of a nationwide manhunt since Ms White, who was assistant director of corrections for the jail in Lauderdale County, allegedly helped engineer Mr White’s escape.
He was serving a 75-year prison sentence for kidnapping and attempted murder charges after he was convicted of trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping her two roommates.
He also faced capital murder charges for a 2015 murder-for-hire slaying that he confessed to while in custody.
“We got a dangerous man off the street today. He is never going to see the light of day again,” Mr Singleton said.
Ms White was charged with permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree. A warrant for her arrest was issued on May 2.
Her family and co-workers said they were stunned by her involvement.
Mr Singleton had said it appeared the escape bid had been planned for some time.
Inmates said the two had a special relationship and Ms White gave Mr White better treatment than other prisoners.
She had recently sold her home and bought what would become the getaway car that authorities later found abandoned in Tennessee.
Investigators believe the ute the that was rammed this week was stolen in Tennessee and then driven about 280 kilometres to Evansville.
– with AAP